Vive Viva Hamnell! The Original Punk And Lollipop Lady

“Punk had great freedom with no rules. I couldn’t sing, but I got up there and sung. It didn’t matter. You had to have the spirit and the energy.” – Viva Hamnell, 2014

 

Viva Hamnell at Glastonbury Festival, from Amanda Bluglass’s short Viva Punk Rebel

Viva Hamnell at Glastonbury Festival, from Amanda Bluglass’s short Viva Punk Rebel

 

Viva Hamnell at Port Eliot Lit Fest 2006 with her daughter Jane and son-in-law Rik Gadsby modelling McLaren, Westwood and Reid punk designs for The Look

Viva Hamnell at Port Eliot Lit Fest 2006 with her daughter Jane and son-in-law Rik Gadsby modelling McLaren, Westwood and Reid punk designs for The Look

 

The crowd went wild and jogged the photographer’s elbow: onstage in this blurry shot with Viva in Jamie Reid’s Sex Pistols Fuck Forever t-shirt, Port Eliot Lit Fest, 2006/

The crowd went wild and jogged the photographer’s elbow: onstage in this blurry shot with Viva in Jamie Reid’s Sex Pistols Fuck Forever t-shirt, Port Eliot Lit Fest, 2006/

 

My first meeting with Viva Hamnell eight years ago was not untypical, I subsequently learnt.

Seventy four at the time, she was viewing the various Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and Jamie Reid designs I was co-opting friends and attendees at Port Eliot Lit Fest to model that year to illustrate an event for the newly published second edition of my book The Look.

 

Viva Hamnell punk

Hamnell goes about her Lollipop Lady duties in a 70s TV news item

 

Viva Hamnell punk

Left in the 70s

 

Viva Hamnell punk

Lining up with fellow members of The Bricks

 

Having surveyed the Naked Cowboys, Mickie & Minnie and Snow White & Her Sir Punks, Viva plumped for Reid’s 1986 BOY t-shirt issue of his poster design for The Great Rock & Roll Swindle: Sex Pistols Fuck Forever set in flouro-pink.

And when she closed the show by strolling on stage wearing the shirt, the crowd naturally went wild.

 

 

Viva Hamnell punk

Viva Hamnell

Viva Hamnell punk Viva Hamnell punk Viva Hamnell punk

 

Amanda Bluglass’s documentary portrait Viva Punk Rebel captures this indomitable rule-breaker, whose embracing of punk rock as a 43-year-old freshly divorced lollipop lady in 1976 set her on a life of adventure – taking in membership of Cornish punk band The Bricks and involvement in the Elephant Fayre and Lit Fest at St Germans and the Glastonbury Festival – which lasts unto this day.

Vive Viva!